How to Teach Your Children Responsibility


What are we striving to achieve when we say that we are raising children? When children can accept full responsibility for the consequences of their choices, they are “grown up.” It takes a long time, at least 21 years, for a child to become an independent person. Unfortunately, there are countless people who no matter how old they are, have not truly “grown up.” We can tell by the degree to which they take responsibility for their lives.

Responsibility means the ability to respond appropriately given the needs of a situation. Every day, parents encourage or discourage the development of qualities that will turn their children into responsible adults. Your children will be able to respond appropriately when they have developed these three essential character qualities: rational thinking, the capacity for loving, and sufficient confidence to act on their beliefs. These three qualities are included in our formula R=TLC. Built into this formula is also a way of understanding the best method for reaching the goal, which is tender loving care or TLC.


In our formula R=TLC, the “T” stands for thinking. This is the ability to use one’s mind to process information logically, to analyze situations and to form conclusions. A person with strong thinking skills can distinguish between fact and fiction and demonstrates common sense. Good thinking implies the ability to make wise or sound judgments. The more people strengthen their ability to reason and to solve problems, the better they function. Intelligence is not only acquired from our parents; it is developed and given the chance to manifest mostly by what a perĀ¬son has learned and experienced. Attentive parents routinely teach children how to think by involving them in problem-solving activities.


“L” in the R=TLC formula stands for loving. Loving describes a way of being with oneself and others. It means fully accepting someone for who they are as a person; however, it does not mean accepting that person’s behavior without conditions. Loving means treating others with respect and compassion, and valuing and promoting what is in their best interest.

The crucial first stage in helping children develop into loving people is to encourage them to love themselves. It is only from a foundation of self-love that children mature to a place where they are capable of having compassion for others. In the past, self-love was considered to be a negative trait. Now, we underĀ¬stand that a healthy self-interest is absolutely necessary for developing feelings of love towards others. When parents make children feel important, teach them to be expressive about their feelings, encourage them to be happy about their accomplishments and reassure them when they make mistakes, they are helping their children to love themselves. Being self-centered is a natural and crucial stage of human development.

Children must first know that they are important and learn to care about themselves before they can accept that anyone else is also important. This can only happen when they are treated with respect.

The most successful parents demonstrate to their children that they also love themselves. They are not willing to allow their children to mistreat them. By respecting and taking care of their own needs, parents show their children that taking care of oneself is important. In the give and take within a family, each member learns to share attention, time and resources with each other.

From self-love, children progressively expand their awareness outward, learning how to please others, to be fair and to respect the law. If you guide your children during this natural progression, they will become ethical and moral individuals.


“C” stands for confidence in the R=TLC formula. Confidence means the courage to take action, to stand up for oneself and to make independent decisions. It means being self-reliant and trusting in one’s own judgment. Just being a good thinker and a loving person does not make someone a responsible individual. People need the courage of their convictions to speak up and to act on what they believe is right. It is not who is right, but what is right that matters. Taking action on what is right requires confidence. By showing approval when your children act constructively, you can create an atmosphere in which your children can build confidence.

Our formula R=TLC is a universal formula for attaining the highest goal of a human being, to live a self-actualized life. What this means is to develop one’s gifts to their highest potential and to make a positive contribution to society. The ability to live a self-actualized life begins in the family.

The Goal: R = TLC Responsibility = Thinking Loving Confidence

The Method: TLC = Tender Loving Care

Source by Jayne A. Major

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